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San Antonio Probate Blog

Probate litigation may result from concerns of undue influence

Fearing that someone has taken advantage of a loved one can cause many Texas residents to wonder about their best courses of action. In the event that the loved one has passed away and there are concerns regarding estate plans, some individuals may feel the need to move forward with probate litigation. This step could help them to question whether their loved one's wishes were truly carried out.

Texas residents may be interested in such a situation currently underway in another state. Reports indicated that the nieces and nephews of a deceased individual believe that their uncle's financial adviser took advantage of him. The man had sought financial advise in order to make a conservative investment, and he went on to name his adviser as power of attorney agent and beneficiary of his annuities and estate.

Estate executors have many duties during probate proceedings

Acting as executor of a Texas estate presents many responsibilities and duties. Because the executor must see the estate through the probate process, that individual will need to start out by finding the decedent's will and ensuring that the estate assets remain in order until time for distribution. This step often involves presenting the will to the court in order to begin the legal proceedings and taking measures to protect property.

When it comes time to administer the estate, the executor must attend to a number of tasks. These tasks include taking care of final financial obligations, such as paying creditors and attending to taxes. It is also important to remember that the executor could be liable for any financial missteps involving the estate. Additionally, the individual may also need to decide what assets should be liquidated and what to keep.

Attending to debts is one duty of executors during probate

After a loved one dies in Texas, a personal representative or executor typically takes over to ensure that the estate is properly attended to. This individual often sees the estate go through the probate process and has many responsibilities and tasks to carry out. One of those duties may relate to attending to any debts and creditor claims that individuals and entities may pursue against the estate.

Creditors only have a certain amount of time in which they can file a claim against the estate. This action generally occurs after the probate proceedings have been opened and publicly announced. If a person or entity wishes to receive payment for an outstanding debt, they need to make a Statement of Claim, which includes the basis of the claim, the claimant's personal information, amount of the claim and other pertinent details.

Mismanaged estates could lead to probate litigation

The loss of a loved one can take a considerable toll on surviving family. Because the decedent's assets are often all loved ones have left as physical reminders of their family member, holding onto those assets or ensuring that they are properly addressed may help some parties during the grieving process. Unfortunately, some individuals may feel that trustees or personal representatives may not handle the estate correctly, and as a result, probate litigation may prove necessary.

Texas residents may be interested in a similar situation currently underway in another state. Reports indicated that a brother and sister feel that the trustees of their deceased brother's estate have not taken the correct steps to manage the estate. Apparently, before the man's death, he indicated in his will that his 11.6-acre property should be made into a nature preserve. While the trustees have apparently taken steps to ensure that this wish is honored, other conflicts have arisen. 

What's an Affidavit of Heirship and why do I need one?

The fact is that the majority of people here in Texas and across the country die without either an adequate will or a will at all. This means that a surviving family member will need to step up and take control of settling the decedent's estate. If you fulfill this role, you will be required to take several steps in order to accomplish that goal.

As part of that process, it will be necessary to identify all of the potential heirs to the assets of the estate. In order to do so, you will need an Affidavit of Heirship.

Probate complications possible if loved one dies intestate

Texas families often have many duties and arrangements to attend to after the death of a loved one. Probate proceedings can encompass many tasks that individuals must handle in order for a deceased family member's estate to close as it is supposed to close. However, whether the decedent created an estate plan could have a considerable impact on how smoothly those proceedings go.

If a person creates a will before death, he or she will die testate. As a result, many of their probate-related affairs will likely be in order. A will can indicate who the person wanted as executor and how assets should be distributed. The probate process is still necessary in order for the court to ensure that the document is valid.

Donald Fagen involved in probate litigation with Becker's estate

When a person dies, their worldly affairs are often far from over. Many individuals still have issues relating to their estates that need attending to before those affairs can be closed. In some cases, this process can take longer than others, especially if probate litigation takes place. This type of issue is not uncommon, as individuals may feel the need to take legal action for various reasons.

Texas residents may be interested in current litigation relating to the estate of late Steely Dan bandmember Walter Becker. The lawsuit involves the last surviving bandmember, Donald Fagen. Apparently, Becker and Fagen had entered into an agreement 45 years ago that indicated that surviving bandmembers would buy back all shares of band-related stock from individuals who left the band or died.

Estate administration may not be easy for surviving family

Probating an estate can take a considerable amount of time in Texas. If a recently deceased loved one did not leave behind an estate plan or other applicable instructions, the estate administration process could also face its own set of complications. Of course, even with a plan, the proceedings may not be free of issues that could cause difficulties.

Though an estate plan can seem like a beneficial gift from beyond the grave, if a loved one did not take the proper steps to create their plan, problems could arise. In particular, individuals who attempted to make their plans without any help from knowledgeable professionals may not have created their plans correctly. As a result, any documents could be considered invalid, and state intestate laws could end up governing the administration.

Estate planning can be done early and effectively

Because an adult of any age could benefit from having an estate plan, getting started on creating one early in life may prove useful. Estate planning may seem daunting or even morbid at first, but in reality, creating a plan can help ensure that assets are protected and that loved ones understand end-of-life wishes. Of course, when making plans, Texas residents will want to avoid mistakes.

If an individual wants someone in charge of his or her financial, health and other personal decisions in the event of incapacitation, that person should not assume that a spouse will naturally take on that role. In many cases, the court will step in to determine who should make such important decisions, and it may not always be the desired individual. Therefore, a concerned party may want to create a power of attorney document to designate the desired agent.

My parent just died. What happens next?

It is likely with great sorrow that you said goodbye to your parents. Perhaps you have reached the age where many of your friends are losing their parents, and you knew it wouldn't be long before you experienced the loss yourself.

Whether your last living parent fell ill or died suddenly, you are probably feeling many emotions. You and your siblings and extended family may be spending hours reminiscing about the good times and going through your parent's things to decide what to keep and what to donate; but wait, before you dispose of anything in your parent's house, his or her Texas estate must go through probate.

Aldrich Law Firm, PLLC

Aldrich Law Firm, PLLC
909 NE Loop 410
Suite 602
San Antonio, TX 78209

Phone: 210-418-1150
Fax: 210-598-7221

909 NE Loop 410 Suite 602
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